I had an interesting conversation the other day with a Mississauga businessman who feels strongly that when Hwy. 401 is widened to 12 lanes next year between Mississauga and Mavis Roads, that a viaduct should be constructed to level the roadway there. It currently drops about 70 feet and trucks sometimes have to gear down to climb out of the ‘dip.’ And it’s always congested.
Ernie Lynch, president and founder of Lynch Group of Companies on Argentia Rd. in Mississauga, has been lobbying to have the roadway flattened out during the expansion. He presents some numbers that indicate emissions and fuel consumption are higher than necessary due to the road’s current design, which follows the profile of the land.
Ernie’s an interesting guy. He’s passionate about the environment and puts his money where his mouth is. He grows organic vegetables at the company’s office and once in a while cooks them up for staff. He’s hoping to get permission from the city to build a greenhouse there. The company funded the conversion of an employee’s Toyota Prius to a full plug-in electric, which now gets 180 mpg. He’s installing charging stations at the plant for electric vehicles. His house is largely solar-powered and he generates surplus electricity, which he sells to the province. He even pays employees to relocate closer to the office so that they reduce their environmental impact while commuting. He also heads the company band, named the Bare Naked Lynches. Okay, that last point was totally irrelevant, but I just wanted to work Bare Naked Lynches into this story.
Ernie would like to see the trucking industry – arguably the biggest stakeholders in this decision – to get on-board and help him convince the government to change its construction plans for the stretch of highway. This isn’t currently on the Ontario Trucking Association’s agenda, because its fleet members haven’t yet asked them to get involved.
I asked a couple professional drivers who regularly travel this stretch of Hwy. 401 to weigh in and they believe leveling the roadway here will have minimal effect. It’s a busy area, because trucks are joining the highway at Mississauga Road at the same time cars are jockeying for position to get off the highway at Mavis Rd. Both arguments are outlined in this story. So, what do you think? Is this a cause the industry should get behind? Or are there more important things to worry about?
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies